ONE boss responds to death of ‘kickboxer’ in Singapore

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A celebrity kickboxing bout was organized by Axseed Events and Muse Fitness Club at the inaugural Asia Fighting Championship in Singapore on Saturday. It pitted YouTube personality and former Singapore Idol contestant Steven Lim, 41, against former Singapore Idol finalist and singer Sylvester Sim. Sim withdrew from the contest the day before over insurance issues, and bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian stepped up, saying he did not want to let down all the ticket buyers.

The bout was stopped in the second round after Subramanian, 32, sustained several clean shots, and Lim was declared the winner. Subramanian collapsed and was rushed to Singapore General Hospital where he died. Cause of death is believed to be “a cardiac arrest respiratory failure episode.”

A backstage staff member who declined to be named witnessed the fight and the aftermath and spoke to Channel News Asia.

“In the first round, it seemed like Pradip was winning. But in the second round, Steven punched him a few times,” said the witness. “We all didn’t understand how he lost … could be that he was already showing some signs of [discomfort], but I’m not really sure. Thereafter, another punch by Steven saw Pradip getting a nosebleed.

“When the referee saw that there was a nosebleed, he called off the fight and consulted with some other officials. He then declared Steven Lim as the winner of the bout.

“Straightaway after the fight, Pradip [was] concussed and was helped to the backstage area. When I was at backstage with Steven Lim, I already saw him lying on the stretcher and a few medics were fanning him. Initially, I thought it was just a concussion … plus there was no sign of a heart attack. He was then sent to hospital via the ambulance. It was much later that I heard the news that he died.”

Lim was naturally devastated, as was Subramanian’s family.

“The whole family is in shock and no one knows, even them, how did he get involved in this fight,” said Pradip’s cousin Roger Rajan, 45. We are all confused. He’s a bodybuilder and gym consultant. He’s not a qualified fighter. We don’t know how he was approved for the fight.”‘

Organisers say both fighters underwent a medical check-up and signed a waiver acknowledging the risks.

The participants to do appear to have any training in kickboxing.

Posted by Nigel Chua on Saturday, September 23, 2017

ONE Championship owner Chatri Sityodtong, a retired fighter himself, was asked by a number of people to comment. Via his social network.

“Several reporters from various media called me today for my thoughts on the inaugural Asia Fighting Championship tragedy where bodybuilder Pradip Subramanian passed away after a kickboxing bout with YouTube star Steven Lim,” wrote Sityodtong. “First, I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to Pradip’s family and friends. I am truly sorry for your loss. I never had the opportunity to meet Pradip, but I am told that he was a great guy with a happy, larger-than-life personality and was loved by everyone. May you rest in peace, Pradip.

“As one of the leaders in both the global sports community as well as the local Singapore martial arts community, I would like to express a few thoughts:

“1) I do not know the CEO of Asia Fighting Championship and I have no idea who he or she is. As someone with over 30 years of martial arts experience though, I find it reckless and irresponsible for a promoter to ask two untrained civilians without proper training or knowledge to compete in a professional bout. The vast majority of first-timers in the ring will have proper training, basic defensive skills, reasonable technique, adequate preparation time, safety protective head gear and shin pads, etc. After watching the video of the fight, it was clear to me that Steven and Pradip had almost zero knowledge on how to protect themselves, let alone how to execute any martial arts technique. Defensive knowledge comes through technique absorption/repetition, reflex/reaction drills, controlled sparring, etc. To make matter worse, it is my understanding that Pradip had only 24 hours notice to compete, and had zero competitive experience in the ring. This fight was a publicity stunt without regard for the risk of human life. It was a decision by the CEO of a small startup organization who put innocent, untrained civilians in harm’s way just to sell tickets. On a personal level, I would like to know if this CEO possesses the qualified experience, credentials, and knowledge in both business and martial arts or not. I suspect that he or she does not. As a leader in our community, I hope the authorities deal with the CEO of Asia Fighting Championship severely to deter any other future tragedies and/or reckless, irresponsible acts.

“2) For global sports media properties like NBA, EPL, ONE Championship, or F1, our top priority is safety – it is the #1 priority by far in our organizations. We hire the most experienced executives with significant domain expertise, implement the best-in-class global safety and medical practices and procedures, spend significant capital to ensure athletes are not taking unnecessary risks through CT scans, blood tests, hydration tests, etc. We have full-time medical staff employed. Safety is everything in the world of sports. Of course, tragedies can still occur as we see with crashes in F1, or heart attacks in the EPL. However, these situations are not a result of reckless and irresponsible acts by F1 or EPL.

“3) A few of the media asked me how ONE Championship thinks about safety. Safety is the top priority in everything my team and I do – and the proof is in the pudding. Since ONE Championship was launched in 2011, we have had over 600+ bouts without any serious injuries to our athletes inside the cage. Bar none, ONE Championship is the gold standard of safety in Asia because we adopt a best-in-class, global standard of safety. As a CEO, I hire the best team possible with the most domain experience and I pay them the highest compensation in the market. I spare no expense when it comes to our medical process in terms of CT scans, blood tests, neurological exams, hydration tests, etc. We have a full-time VP of Medical Services, Dr Warren Wang, who is an outstanding medical doctor as well as an outstanding martial artist. Other VPs at ONE Championship include 3x UFC World Champion Rich Franklin and martial arts legend Matt Hume. We have multiple checks and balances within our organization. I am personally involved in every aspect of safety. And we regularly study the world’s top global sports properties across all facets of safety protocol. We continuously upgrading our people, systems, and processes in order to ensure best-in-class, global excellence in safety.

“It is a sad day for Singapore. It is a sad day for our beloved martial arts community. The only silver lining of this senseless tragedy is that I believe it was an isolated event. It was the reckless and irresponsible actions of a single CEO. It was not a reflection of the martial arts community in Singapore, and it was not a reflection of the global sports community. Let this tragedy be yet another precious reminder for all of us to put safety as our #1 priority – always and without fail.”